I received an email yesterday that seemed very official and legit regarding the transfer of a domain which we manage for a client. To my knowledge, this client had not requested a transfer of their domain from our registrar. That was red flag number one. But sometimes a client will talk to a competing company about taking over hosting/domain management of their site, which is just something that happens in the business world. And sometimes, rather than contact us to let us know what's going on, they will attempt to transfer their domain out of our registrar where we manage it without giving us a heads up, so we can send them the Auth Code and turn off the Domain Protect to allow them to transfer. I guess they don't want to break our hearts, which is commendable, and we sure hate to see them go.
More often than not, when we receive an email regarding a domain transfer about which we had no prior knowledge, it's a scam. Take a look at this email I got:
Pretty sneaky, sis.
I Googled the company requesting the Auth Code and got this, via Wikipedia:
"In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the company for practices such as transferring domain registrations to their service under the guise of domain renewal, a practice known as domain slamming, and having hidden fees."
That was the second, and final red flag.
What these people are counting on is for the person in charge of managing the domain to be confused and assume that, if they don't comply with the instructions listed, they will lose their domain. The sad part is that it often works. All these folks have to do is send an email that looks official, and they trick people into GIVING them their domains.
Are you ready for the pitch now? While I'm all for folks taking an initiative and grabbing this new medium that is the internet by the horns, there are definitely advantages to allowing the professionals to handle some things. We at LogicMaze get calls about emails clients have received that are nearly identical to this a few times a year, and we've been able to stop companies like Domain Registry of America from stealing a few domains. Because we have dealt with this kind of stuff before
. We're happy to keep an eye on things for you and make sure these slimy sleazeballs don't try to trick you out of your property.
Of course, if you want to register your domain yourself, just please please PLEASE make sure you do your homework first.